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India, Belarus discuss bilateral defence cooperation

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A file photo of OSA-AK missile for the Indian Air Force. Defence PSU BDL is holding talks with Belarusian company Teatradr for refurbishing the missiles.

New Delhi (PTI): Indian Minister of State for Defence M M Pallam Raju held talks with Belarusí Defence Minister Colonel-General Leonid Semenovich Maltsev to discuss bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

With supply and joint development of defence equipment and spares and refurbishment of missile systems being the main agenda of Raju's visit, which started on October 24, the two sides on Monday took stock of military and technical ties between them, Defence Ministry officials said here.

Raju, on a four day visit to Belarus, was also briefed on the ongoing cooperation by Belarus Deputy Chairman of the State Military and Industrial Committee Major General Rogozhevsky Monday, they added.

Leading a four-member delegation including Director General of Mechanised Forces Lt Gen D Bharadwaj, Joint Secretary (Ordnance Factories) V Somasundram and Bharat Dynamics Limited Chairman-and-Managing Director Major General (retd) Ravi Khetrapal, Raju will call on President Alexander G Lukashenko later on Tuesday.

India is seeking the supplies of opto-electronics from erstwhile Soviet Republic countries such as Belarus for tanks and combat vehicles and upgradation of BMP-2, T-72 and T-90 tanks.

Defence PSU BDL is already holding talks with Belarusian company Teatradr for refurbishing the OSA-AK missiles of the air force.

DRDO has also signed MoUs and contracts worth $2.6 million with the National Academy of Sciences for Belarus for jointly developing technologies in laser and powder metallurgy.

Raju will also visit ĎAgatí, the Belarusian scientific research enterprise, which has been collaborating with DRDO for over 15 years and the two institutions are likely to enter into a long-term agreement soon.

India and Belarus have had close defence ties after they signed a MoU on defence cooperation in 1993 and consolidated it by signing an agreement for setting up a Joint Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (MTC), on the pattern of a similar arrangement with Russia.

The two countries have growing bilateral trade, which was over $432 million last year, with exports from India amounting to over $315 million and imports at $117 million.

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